Head of The Colossal Sphinx

$2,000.00 $1,100.00



This is an extremely rare original etching with aquatint and extensive “hand coloring” by Italian painter Luigi Mayer (1755-1805). This is a lifetime painting, fully catalog referenced, executed in London between 1801-1803. This was painted with its nose, but the nose was already been damaged by Napoleon in 1798 – 1801 or by Mohamed Saaem el-Dahr in the 15th century. Yet some historians believe it was from erosion from wind, rain and earthquakes. If from Napoleon, then the nose may have still been intact.

Mayer was an Italian-German artist and one of the earliest and most important late 18th-century European painters of the Ottoman Empire. He was a close friend of Sir Robert Ainslie, the British ambassador to Turkey, and Mayer’s paintings and drawings from 1776 – 1792 reflected the time he was in Turkey. He also painted the  Balkans, Greek Island and Egypt as seen here. Eighty-six of his works appear in the British Museum including Jewish and Muslim scenes.

In its extensive frame and matting, it is 28″ x 27″ and the image is 12.25″ x 15.5.” There is minor outerwear on the frame. It is signed by Mayer and publisher Thomas Milton, and annotated.


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